August 7, 2013 -- Mayor Annise Parker is calling on places of worship, schools and other Houston places where bells are available to join her in a local bell-ringing ceremony to help commemorate the 50th anniversary of The March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Houston’s official bell-ringing ceremony will occur at 2 p.m. on August 28 outside Houston City Hall by the reflecting pool. The date and time is a half century to the minute after Dr. King delivered his historic address and it coincides with a “Commemoration and Call to Action” to be held on the National Mall in Washington D.C. the same day.
“I am calling on all Houstonians to join me as we pause to mark the 50th anniversary of this historic moment,” said Mayor Parker. “As the most diverse city in this country, we are positioned through our local bell-ringing observance to send a strong message of inclusion, and acceptance of people of all races, religion or national origin. I especially hope that our young people will get involved.”
Mayor Parker is asking all local organizations with access to bells to join in the bell-ringing at precisely 2 p.m. August 28 to achieve a citywide ringing of the bells. Any bell may be used for the commemorations. However, the bell tone should be deep to lend solemnity to the commemoration. The bells should not ring for more than 15 seconds. Organizations without access to a large bell may play a recording of bells ringing. Any speeches given during your program should be short and polarizing debates should be avoided. The local observance is being planned to allow participation by those who cannot make the trip to Washington.
On August 28, 1963, Dr. King ended his speech with a call to “let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire … from the mighty mountains of New York…from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania … from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado … from the curvaceous slopes of California … from Stone Mountain in Georgia…from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee … and from every hill and molehill in Mississippi.